bike wheel that filters air
Bike wheel that filters air

Not only do bikes not spew muck into the air we breath, in the future they might actually suck the muck out.

In a breath-taking leap of imaginative thinking, a London industrial designer has built a bike wheel that acts as an air purifier.

The wheel uses the motion of the bike to suck in polluted air from the street before taking it through a filter and expelling it out again.

And it works.

The prototype was put to work on the front wheel of a number of London bike share bicycles and was successful.

Each wheel cleaned about two-thirds of a cubic metre of air for each kilometre travelled.

The mechanism works by pushing the polluted air inside the rim of the wheel which houses the filters. These filters are made up of the loofa sponge which is a washable and biodegradable HEPA filter that captures the large particulates, and activated carbon which is proven for its properties to capture gas molecules and volatile organic compounds.

The innovative wheel is designed in a way to suck in the air through the central cavity and push clean air out through the fins.

According to designer Kristen Tapping, if 10% of all London cyclists had one installed on their bike, they would filter approximately 266,865m3 of air.

Kristen wants to improve her design and develop a rear-wheel which doubles those numbers.

She is also working on 3D printing a portion of the three-spoke mag wheel and using weatherproof and sustainable material for the wheel.

The wheel could be manufactured for about $55, weighs 1050g, and the filter needs changing once a week.

This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.

Become a member during spring and score a Bicycle Network jersey worth $90. Offer ends Sunday 31 October.

Join now